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David Ripley: Idaho Senate Approves Unborn Infants Dignity Act

March 23rd, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The Idaho State Senate overwhelmingly approved SB1404 yesterday afternoon. This historic legislation would make it illegal to harvest organs and tissue from aborted babies. It would make it illegal to conduct experiments with tissue and organs ripped from babies killed in abortion. That includes embryonic stem cells.

Sadly, all Democrats on the floor sided with Planned Parenthood, which has fought vigorously against this bill – despite claims that they are not selling aborted babies from their abortion clinics in Idaho.

The legislation now moves to the House State Affairs Committee.

Please join us in praying for the success of this legislation in the closing days of the 2016 legislative session.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, March 21

March 22nd, 2016 by Halli

by Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

The other day there was a group of legislative advisers (lobbyists) gathered in a huddle in the hallway outside one of the committee rooms. I stopped for a few seconds to see what was weighing so heavily on their minds. I told them they reminded me of something that a former legislature used to say, “All we know is what we tell each other.”

Looking at what we still have on our plate for the year it might take a little longer than expected to get through it. In the State Affairs Committee we have plowed through most things. We do have a couple of bills that we know will be coming from the Senate that need to be considered. We should know early in the week if we can adjourn by week’s end.

There are still talks going on to come up with a plan for a solution to what we are referring to as the gap. At this stage it has been a new plan every day in an effort to see if one of them will get enough votes to pass. There are three distinct groups of legislators on this issue, those that think we should definitely do something, those that don’t want to do anything at all, and those that want to come up with the perfect plan. At least they are talking, which is more than has happened over the last three years.

The compromise bill that will allow carrying a concealed weapon without a license passed the House on Friday and is headed to the Governor’s desk for his action. The Idaho Sheriff’s Association as well as the Fraternal Order of Police supported the legislation. I am reminded of what Paul Harvey pointed out often, that freedom implies responsibility and this bill comes with the responsibility of knowing where Federal Law will not allow weapons without a license.

I learned to drive at a very young age because my dad needed someone to drive the tractor when he fed the cows. I had become a fairly good driver by the time I was old enough to get a license. Because I would be old enough to get my driver’s license before I could complete driver’s education, I told my dad that I was not going to take the class. I was told that I would indeed take the class because I would learn things that I needed to know. I obtained my license before I finished the class, but I have been grateful that I listened to Dad. I did learn things that I needed to know. And so it is with carrying a concealed weapon. I would recommend that anyone who desires to carry a concealed weapon get the training. You will be glad you did. Getting a license is not that painful either, and will help you at the gun store as well.

I went to dinner with some folks the other night, a chance to relax and get away for the evening. As is typical, even though we did talk about other things besides legislation, our conversation always seems to turn back to what we do around here. It might be true after all, “All we know is what we tell each other.”

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Posted in Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Politics in General, Rep. Tom Loertscher, Taxes | No Comments »

Richard Larsen: Mitt Romney has Every Right to Express His Concerns for America

March 18th, 2016 by Halli

by Richard Larsen

The vitriol heaped upon former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney this past week is entirely illogical and irrational. It only makes sense in the emotion-driven context prevailing during this election cycle. But alas, due to the prevailing emotional populist sentiment, logic has become the most obvious casualty of the primary election season. No wonder this is often referred to as the “silly season.”

Romney had the temerity to criticize the demeanor, abrasive and crass style, as well as some of the unpropitious statements by current Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump. “He creates scapegoats of Muslims and Mexican immigrants. He calls for the use of torture. He calls for killing the innocent children and family members of terrorists. He cheers assaults on protesters. He applauds the prospect of twisting the Constitution to limit First Amendment freedom of the press. This is the very brand of anger that has led other nations into the abyss,” Romney declared.

The former Massachusetts governor came short of endorsing one of the other three candidates in the GOP race, but discouraged Republican voters from supporting Trump. In doing so, he echoed the sentiments of many who claim affinity with an ABT approach to the primaries – Anyone But Trump.

Some of the critics of Romney’s interjection into the race have said he has no right to do so. Isn’t it ironic that those so critical of Romney think they can express their disdain, but Romney can’t? Can’t get much more duplicitous than that! Frankly, every citizen has that First Amendment right of free speech. One is not deprived of that right just because they’re a former candidate, or may have lost an election.

Should his opinion carry weight? Logically, as well as a matter of principle, one should think so. He’s carried the party banner, and did so with dignity and class. He’s a man of sound judgment and acumen, and sometimes those who have run and lost have a better grasp of the stakes than those who haven’t. He has a vested interest in the future of the country and the future of the Republican Party. Perhaps his words are ignored at our peril.

Others have criticized Romney saying he was a “horrible” candidate in 2012 running against Barack Obama. This begs the question, what is a good candidate? He had no skeletons in his closet, no moral turpitude, and he acted presidential. He is, in many ways, the antithesis of this year’s frontrunner. Maybe that says more about the party and how it’s changing, than it says about Romney.

That’s not to say he didn’t make faux pas’ as a candidate. His factual observation that 47% of the populace is on some kind of federal assistance didn’t help, and according to some political operatives, his refusal to go negative against Obama sealed his fate. Is that another component to being a “horrible” candidate? Refusing to go negative? If so, it certainly explains why many in the GOP are in full-fledged adulation mode with Trump. With him, it will be a surprise if and when he goes positive.

Perhaps the animosity directed toward Romney is merely transference because of the anti-establishment mentality prevalent during this election cycle. Even this is illogical since Romney was not the preferred “establishment” candidate either in ’08 (when he bowed out early) or in 2012.

As the Washington Post reminded us a year ago, “Romney wasn’t the first choice for many in the establishment. True, a few bigwigs were deeply committed to him from the start. But they hardly represented consensus opinion. That’s why we heard so many entreaties for other candidates to run.”

In an interview earlier this week, Chris Wallace asked Romney about the “establishment” allegation. Romney responded, “Establishment suggests there must be some Wizard of Oz somewhere pulling the strings. That’s not the way it works. I sat there and watched Donald Trump, and I said, look, someone has got to say something. I didn’t talk to anybody and say, ‘I’m going to do a speech, do you have some ideas?’ This is something I did on my own because I care very deeply about the country.”

“I love America. I’m concerned about America and I believe the heart and soul of conservatives and Republicans recognize that the principles that Donald Trump is talking about have nothing to do with conservatism, nothing to do with keeping America strong.”
What the establishment allegation against Romney does is create a whole new definition of the “establishment.” In this iteration, it’s everyone who doesn’t share the gutter-mentality, gutter-speech, and noncommittal ideology of Donald Trump.

Which brings us to arguably the most denunciatory claim made against Romney – that he’s a “loser.” This requires assessment of why he lost in 2012. As Rush Limbaugh explains it, “4.5 million to 5 million Republicans didn’t vote in 2012. This is the conventional wisdom and they didn’t vote because they didn’t like the nominee, he wasn’t conservative enough, or there was a religious component.”

So was he conservative enough? Many in the establishment thought he was too conservative, hence their efforts to recruit and back more “mainstream” candidates. Further, anyone who read his book “No Apology,” knew where his priorities and his values were based. He did not lack in conservative fidelity! But as Rush points out, there likely was a bigotry issue with some who refused to back an LDS (Mormon) candidate. Their ecclesiastical purity trumped their love of country. That is unconscionable! Voting for a president is not an ecclesiastical endorsement!

Those verities translate into Romney’s critics perhaps being the real losers. If they didn’t bother to get behind him and vote four years ago, they’re the losers. Romney, and the nation, simply reaped the fruits of those who condemned us with another four years of “the One” by their imprudence and inaction.

The country missed one of the greatest opportunities for principled, conservative, and classy leadership four years ago. What a shame that he is maligned now for having the audacity to share his valid concerns for the future of the party and the nation!
Romney had every right to share his insights, and we simply prove yet again that we’re losers, as a party and as a nation, if we fail to listen to wisdom and reason, regardless of how much we may like or dislike the source.

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Posted in Guest Posts, National Sovereignty, Pocatello Issues, Politics in General, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

David Ripley: All We Need to Know

March 18th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Barack Obama’s campaign to pack the court has been fairly restrained and subtle up to this point. He has been arguing that he has a constitutional duty to pick a nominee to replace Justice Scalia. And the Senate has a duty to “advise and consent”.

He brought forth a sitting appellate judge, Merrick Garland and positioned his candidate as a reasonable “moderate”. No sinister plot here.

Thankfully our friends on the radical left are a bit more honest. It saves a lot of time and helps average folks understand the dangerous game Obama is actually playing.

Yesterday the Planned Parenthood chief couldn’t restrain herself. Cecile Richards offered high praise for the president’s choice – which is all anyone really needs to know about the nominee’s “moderate” politics. While reports have surfaced that Garland also has a terrible record on gun control – we can now be certain that he is also a committed ideologue on the matter of protecting the Roe abortion regime.

Regardless of what happens this fall, Republicans are well justified in demanding a better option for the determining justice on the Supreme Court.

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Posted in Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Presidential Politics | No Comments »

David Ripley: Legislature Gives Final Approval to Ultrasound Bill

March 18th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The state Senate today gave final legislative approval to an improvement in the Informed Consent statutes on a party-line vote. For reasons all their own, every Democrat opposed the legislation.

HB 516, brought forward by Right to Life of Idaho, would require the state to provide a pregnant woman or girl considering abortion with a list of pregnancy centers around Idaho who provide free ultrasounds. That list would be given to the mother prior to an abortion decision.

Of course, the state cannot force the woman to take advantage of those services. Nor should it. But giving a woman in crisis information about alternatives to the reality concocted by Planned Parenthood and Company is in the public interest. Those ultrasound images are the single greatest weapon against the Big Lie that there is not another life at stake in the abortion decision.

We expect the Governor to sign this modest advance into law, and commend RTL for bringing it forward.

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Posted in Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Rep. Tom Loertscher | No Comments »

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, March 14

March 14th, 2016 by Halli

by Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

Things don’t always go as planned around this place. And sometimes it takes a bit of patience to see some things through.

It is rare for a budget bill to fail on the floor of the House but it happened with the budget for the arts last week. There were a variety of reasons all the way from funding the arts is not a role of government to spending too much to some drama in trying to make a point. No matter how you might feel about the state funding the arts, there is one thing someone reminded me of over the weekend. There is nothing quite as undead as a budget bill that fails to pass one of the houses of the legislature. It will be back and could be one of those going home bills. Patience is the operative word.

I have been receiving a lot of mail from folks who find themselves in the Obamacare gap. There is a common thread that weaves through these letters. Many of them are hard working people that find themselves unable to afford health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act. How’s that for a contradiction in terms? A lot of them have chronic conditions and would benefit from improved access to primary health care. There are still ongoing talks to find enough support for block grants to health clinics for the gap. One of my colleagues asked me if I would rather spend $5 Million on this than to spend the $5 Million that has been set aside for a community college that does not yet exist. A fair question but not enough around here want to answer. This is one of those things where patience doesn’t seem to control the discussion.

Sort of along those lines, I had another thousand mile weekend. My cousin Paul Loertscher passed away and I attended the viewing in Salt Lake before returning to Boise Sunday evening. I couldn’t help but reflect on the family in which he grew up. There were 12 children in the family and they lived in what we today would call poverty but they did not seem to know it, or at least they didn’t act like it. They are a closely knit family. They have a family song they call “The Sewer Song.” One of them told me it is the only profession where you start at the top and work your way down. They had very little but they made do and somehow survived without government help. In those days there was not an earned income credit, or food stamps, or Medicaid, or WIC, or help with utilities, and on and on. But all members of the family worked hard and they made do and survived. I know that things have changed, oh, how they have changed.

I watched the news briefly Sunday Morning and the co-anchors were lamenting the change to daylight savings time. They cited a study that indicated it takes at least three weeks to recover from springing forward. I think I might have figured out what the “savings” part of daylight savings time is. You take the hour you surrender in the spring and put it in your “time account,” save it until fall and withdraw it to use then, all without interest of course. Are you buying that? I didn’t think so!

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Politics in General, Rep. Tom Loertscher, Taxes | No Comments »

Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights, March 11

March 14th, 2016 by Halli

By Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

There are interesting things that take place that you don’t get a chance to hear much about at home. One example is a group of legislators that have been meeting in an effort to solve a problem we have encountered in our efforts to prevent invasive species, namely quagga muscles, from getting into our waterways. This is a serious matter because these tiny critters attach themselves to the walls of irrigation pipe and the internal workings of pumps and turbines which literally make them nonfunctional.

We are trying to find a way to step up the number of hours our inspection stations are open to inspect boats that are coming later in the evenings when our stations have been closed. Several ideas have been brought forward, one of which is to transfer the responsibility from the Department of Agriculture to a different agency. Representative Gibbs and Senator Harris and I along with several other legislators have been conversing regularly in an effort to come up with a solution.

I had a very interesting experience the other day when a gentleman dropped by wanting to visit with me. He had a young lady with him and he introduced her to me as a refugee that had come to the United States. She’s been here for some time and was very gracious and said how grateful she was to be in the United States. I asked her where she was from and she answered that she had come from Syria.

Her husband was a doctor and had been killed by the regime. After a lot of effort and a difficult process she was able to escape with her two children and come to the U.S. I asked her how she felt about our country. She said, “America is my mother.” Her children also love America and are doing well in school. She is happy to have them here where they can grow up in freedom. I asked her if she had a long-range goal of returning to Syria. Because her passport now has a stamp that says refugee, if she were to return she would be killed. She will never be able to see her parents and family again.

Our second annual Idaho Day was celebrated on Friday and we had the privilege of having all of our living past and present governors speak to us. Governor Batt was unable to be there but we were told he was watching the proceedings via the internet. It was a rare moment to have them in the same place at the same time. They were asked to tell what made Idaho special to them.

I visited with Governor Andrus for a few moments prior to the presentation. I told him that if I were talking, I would tell about the unique landscapes of Idaho and of our wildlife and the renewing of the seasons. He told me that is what he was going to do for a couple of minutes and then “stick a stick in.” I told him that we would not know it was him if he didn’t stick a stick in. And that is exactly what he did.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Rep. Tom Loertscher | No Comments »

Richard Larsen: Donald Trump’s Cult of Personality

March 9th, 2016 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

The most disturbing aspect to the Donald Trump candidacy is not the empty rhetoric, non-substantive solutions, or even his brash politically-incorrect style. The most disturbing aspect of his candidacy is what it says about so many of our fellow citizens. A veritable personality cult is developing around the GOP frontrunner rivaling that of the Democrat nominee from four and eight years ago. And it’s just as speciously founded.

Some assert that the Trump bandwagon is reshaping the Republican Party. Some go even further and claim that his candidacy is simply bringing out sordid and ignoble characteristics of the party that have been heretofore more latent and simmering under the veneer surface of decency. Such characterizations are erroneous.

Both major parties are grappling with atypical undercurrents that are largely reshaping the face, and perhaps the heart, of each. Regrettably, both are founded in a pejorative form of populism, whether it’s the promise of “free stuff” for adherents of the Democrat Party, or the abject anger aimed at unresponsive and tyrannical government for the Republicans. Such populism is destructive to the political process in a republic, as it appeals to citizens’ selfishness and most base instincts. And it’s culturally destructive as it drags the public dialogue to the lowest common denominator, while appealing to emotion at the expense of logic and reason.

In the last two presidential election cycles there was a veritable cult following for “The One” that venerated and idolized him regardless of what he said or did. He could do no wrong. His speech was lofty; language grandiloquent; substance lacking; and promises vapid.
low-infosThis year the leading GOP candidate has a similar cult following. It doesn’t seem to matter that “Make America great again,” and “we’re going to win…” constitute 50% of his specious speeches, with the other 50% reiterating his greatness. With little substance accompanying his bold statements, it’s hardly distinguishable from the empty “Hope and Change” mantra of Obama’s cult following.

But unlike Obama’s elevating elocution, Donald Trump’s speech is degrading, debasing, and uncivil. As Mitt Romney aptly delineated this week, Trump is one who “mocked a disabled reporter, who attributed a reporter’s question to her menstrual cycle, who mocked a brilliant rival who happened to be a woman due to her appearance, who bragged about his marital affairs, and who laces his public speeches with vulgarity.” But to the cult of Trump, civility, class, and decorum don’t matter.

Whether we like it or not, the fact is that the president of the United States is the face of the nation. For all of Obama’s policy and ideology failures, at least he was not always an embarrassment in terms of his conduct and decorum. He has typically filled his role as face of America to the world with class. He has acted presidential.

Trump has no illusion of what it means to act presidential, and is redefining it to the depths of depravity with his tactlessness and inexorable ad hominem attacks on anyone who crosses him. But to the cult of Trump, it doesn’t matter.

Following Barack Obama’s Super Tuesday victories in 2008, he revealed his “messiah complex” by claiming, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” Millions of Americans seemed to agree whilst gullibly falling for his grandiloquent, yet vapid speech. He could do no wrong in the eyes of his cult-like followers.

And perhaps unsurprisingly, the leading narcissist of the 2016 presidential race, claims that, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” Such is the power of the cult of personality and its hold on the sycophants who suspend reason in order to wholly buy into a campaign idiom of populist appeal. To the cult of Trump, it doesn’t matter.

When Obama preyed upon the emotions of low information voters, many on the right were critical not just of Obama and his insubstantial campaigns, but of the uninformed, ill-informed, and misinformed voters who flocked to him in ignorance. Ironically, many of those critics are now devout members of the cult of Trump.

Compromise is a bad word and anathema to the political purist. Yet in the cult of Trump, it doesn’t matter, because compromise is rebranded as “the art of the deal” and the great dealmaker is adored and praised.

Just as sound-thinking Democrats would likely prefer to not have their party seen as the party of economic illiteracy, abdication of personal responsibility, and freeloaders, so also most Republicans don’t appreciate Trump’s redrawing the face of their party to reflect the crassness, rudeness, callousness, debasement, and moral turpitude of their leading presidential candidate. Such regression in both parties does not portend well for the republic.

In that context, both major political parties are being redefined, and it’s to the detriment of the nation and the freedoms and liberties we hold sacrosanct. Let’s hope there are enough sane and sensible people to save us from the populists in both parties!

Today for the Republican party, the choice is remarkably similar to the ’08 and ’12 choices for the Democrats, and it comes down to the classic Platonic dichotomy of form versus substance. Regrettably for the GOP this time around, not only is the substance lacking, but even the form is not appealing, as it culturally spirals down to the lowest common denominator and our most base instincts.

When reason and logic are employed in the candidate and presidential selection process, policy matters, character matters, and substance matters. When a cult of personality rules the process, none of it matters. And there can be little doubt of how the Trump zealots are amassing behind his persona. And he knows it. He can say or do anything, even “shoot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue,” and his adherents remain faithful. That’s when you know all reason has been suspended.

Anger and frustration with Washington is totally understandable. But the solution is not a classless self-adulator who spews venomous aspersions as fact, and whose platform is based in rage. Appealing to emotion is the low-information approach to leadership, and requires a cult-like fealty to succeed, much like the last two election cycles. The Trump cult, regrettably, seems filled with faux conservatives who care less about principles, character, or truth, and are willing to march to the beat of another narcissistic, egocentric political drum based on vapid memes and platitudes. Trump has become a Pied Piper of populistic political porn.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Guest Posts, National Sovereignty, Pocatello Issues, Politics in General, Presidential Politics, Taxes | No Comments »

David Ripley: New Planned Parenthood Video Exposes Trafficking

March 6th, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

Just last week, the Center for Medical Progress released a new video, this one showing a Planned Parenthood abortionist in San Diego carry on a lengthy conversation about the ways in which she can help meet the demand for in-tact baby cadavers. Dr. Jennefer Russo discusses a complex business arrangement with a company called Da Vinci Biosciences.

Like previous abortionists caught on tape, Dr. Russo also confirms that she alters abortion procedures on babies as old as 6 months-gestation in order to harvest intact cadavers. She also suggests the possibility that those babies are being killed through a partial-birth abortion procedure since she is no longer using the drug digoxin to chemically kill the baby in the womb. Instead, the baby is delivered feet first in order to obtain the best tissue samples for its client, Da Vinci.

Da Vinci is a for-profit organ trafficking company, who markets baby parts across the country. Their price sheets indicate they are making handsome profits: $350 for half a baby liver; $500 for an aborted baby’s thymus, and $750 for a baby’s intact brain.

Those prices suggest each baby can be harvested for thousands of dollars, which raise clear questions about violation of federal law which makes such profiteering illegal.

In another important revelation about the organ harvesting/trafficking industry – the Center for Medical Progress has also documented that Da Vinci Biosciences is listed as charitable donor to the Planned Parenthood facility in Orange County. This would suggest another back-door revenue stream for Planned Parenthood clinics to get around the federal prohibition on profiting from organ “donation”.

The Select Congressional Committee, chaired by Rep. Blackburn, has opened its investigation into this sordid business.

And the Idaho Legislature has before it our proposed law to stop such barbaric practices in the state of Idaho. We ask for your prayerful support of SB1349.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, Taxes | No Comments »

David Ripley: Idaho House Passes Ultrasound Bill

March 3rd, 2016 by Halli

Idaho Chooses Life

The House of Representatives passed HB516 on Tuesday by a wide margin. 56 legislators supported the idea of giving women more information about their babies before an abortion. 13 of 14 Democrats in the chamber stood proudly with Planned Parenthood.

The legislation is fairly modest: It would require the state to provide a list of pregnancy centers who offer free ultrasounds to pregnant women.

And yet, access to ultrasounds is one of the most powerful tools we have to combat the denial which permeates the abortion decision. A look at a moving, living, wondrous independent life in the womb makes it almost impossible to hang on to the self-deception that there is just a collection of cancerous-like cells invading a woman’s body.

Planned Parenthood knows the power of ultrasound. They fought the measure tooth-and-nail in committee. During that hearing before the House State Affairs Committee, Planned Parenthood tried to posture itself as already offering this service. Under some intense questioning, however, it became clear that Planned Parenthood uses ultrasound as part of its abortion procedure – so a woman would already have to commit to killing her baby in order to access Planned Parenthood’s “service”.

Of course, Planned Parenthood proudly proclaims that it “trusts women” and happily provides them with all the “scientific” information they need to choose abortion. But the truth is – they have fought every single measure over the past 25 years to ensure that women get information about the risks and alternatives to abortion. Every one.

One of the more bizarre turns of this legislative debate can be found in the press coverage of the House debate. Betsy Russell, of the Spokesman Review, actually reported a gender tally of those debating for and against the bill on the House floor. Russell, who clearly has no sympathy for the pro-Life movement, was apparently trying to help advance the narrative that abortion is solely a “woman’s issue”.

In response to such a suggestion, bill sponsor Rep. Ron Nate (R-Rexburg) argued on the House floor: “I’m a man, I’m a husband, I’m a father of three beautiful daughters … I also have a mother. To say that a man can’t have a voice here in terms of respecting women … is mistaken.”

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues | No Comments »

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